My husband, Ryan, is undeniably creative. He writes for a living. I knew all about his quick wit and brilliant mind long ago when I first fell for him. What I did not know about him, and what he surprised me with this Christmas, is that his creativity is not limited to the written word. He makes things! With his hands and from his heart.
He mentioned to me early on in the seasonal hubbub that there was a challenge on zenhabits to not buy any new gifts for the holidays. It struck a chord in him and he decided to make the commitment. All of his gifts to Rylie and I were either handmade by him, vintage or upcycled pieces made by independent craftspeople and artists.
I knew that he was working on this ukulele for Rylie. He had been gifted the kit last year for Christmas from a friend. Isn't it adorable? He even painted her name on it. See it on the headstock? While he had me believe that the uke was a real bear of a project (he'd come in cursing up a storm every night) he was actually done with it much earlier than I knew. Instead, after the uke was finished, he was building me these amazing bird feeders. One for seed and one for water. He used this tutorial.
He found the plates on the tops at a local thrift store and I think they are perfect in this application. They are so pretty and rustic. I love them so. We hung them in a perfect spot just outside the kitchen window. As if these two bird feeders were not enough, he made me this chalkboard, too.
You can see a little corner of my desk poking in on the bottom left. It matchers perfectly! The wonderful story here, is that the same day we bought this door, we bought a few windows as well. I made the door into the dining room table long ago, but the windows have been in the garage for years now. We even contemplated selling them during our yard sale we had last spring, but Ryan was inspired to reuse them, so back into storage they went. I am so glad that we decided that they were keepers, because the chalkboard is beautiful. I'm going to use it to write down tasks that need attention because getting organized is what the new year is all about. I love, LOVE it!
To see a man who usually sticks to the cerebral side, roll up his sleeves and get to work with his hands is downright inspiring. Every night he'd come home from the office, we'd eat dinner, shuffle through the Rylie bed routine, and philosophize over the dirty dishes. Then - after all of that - he would head to the fridge, grab a beer and tell me that he was going out to the garage to "Man Off." Somewhere around 1 a.m. he would climb into bed. He was burning the candle at both ends for several weeks, just for us, and for something he believes to be important. Rylie and I are feeling quite blessed right about now.